"Needles" from Ki:Theory's new album Kitty Hawk features former Denali/Ambulette vocalist Maura Davis, and was one of our staff-recommended songs for September. It's a song Joel Burleson, the man behind the Ki Moniker says came very naturally to him when he was writing his latest album.
"'Needles' is a song that just seemed to write itself. [It came] out almost fully formed from melody and lyrics down to the production style," says Burleson. "I wanted this track to feel warm so I used decidedly organic instrumentation and a more complex rhythm that is based on an alternating time signature (a single progression switches from 7 to 8 to 7 to 9) but still grooves with metronomic hand-clapping. During the mix I realized it could benefit from a female vocal to blend a higher octave. Having already worked with Maura Davis [Denali/Ambulette] on "I Wanna Run", she was the perfect choice."
When deciding where he wanted to take the song visually for this video, Burleson looked to Amos McKay, a director whose work (short films "Red Sheep" and "Johnny") he admired for their attention to narrative, as opposed to the standard video formula, which he says can often "solely rely on eye candy."
"The song to me evokes images of an Orwellian society taken over by conformity and eventually government mind-control. I was inspired by the classically dark storylines and contrasted imagery from shows reminiscent of The Twilight Zone and decided to do my own version complete with a vintage sense of the future," says McKay. "This story unfolds the day in the life of a memory conversion operator (a person who converts memories into energy) who's become so apathetic to his duties that he's now blind to the horrors he commits daily. In true The Twilight Zone fashion, the operator has the tables turned on him in a climactic twist that I hope would be worthy of Rod Serling’s approval."